Many people think that the best processor, or the best motherboard is what lies at the heart of a custom built PC. The truth of the matter is, without the right Power Supply, it really doesn't matter what else you put in that dream rig of yours. An underpowered, or poor quality PSU WILL (not can, not might, WILL) lead to stability, noise, cooling and lifespan issues in the rest of your machine. Today we're going to take a look at our first ever Mushkin review sample. The 800W incarnation of the Joule PSU line. Click here to read more....
I can remember, way back in the mists of time, when having Mushkin RAM in your PC was more than worthy of some serious bragging rights. Well over a decade later, Muskin are producing a range of PC components, from Memory, to SSD's, and the subject of this review: Power Supply Units. We're going to have a look at the 800W variant of the Mushkin Joule PSU range.
When some of our writing team went to Las Vegas earlier this year to attend CES, Mushkin offered us this PSU on the spot for review. We gratefully accepted, and the unit then went into my suitcase, where it travelled from Nevada to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to Paris, France, and then on to the United kingdom. When Mushkin handed me the PSU in Vegas, the packaging was perfect, so any small dings or imperfections are down to me, not to Mushkin.
The PSU itself comes in a well reinforced black cardboard box, wrapped in a glossy sleeve, the front adorned with some ominous looking stormclouds and an image of the PSU itself.
Retail Packaging - Front View
The rear of the box is covered with technical information regarding the unit itself, and at the bottom a little additional reassurance - the PSU carries a 2 year warranty.
Retail Packaging - Rear View
Along the top there's a comprehensive breakdown of the quantity and type of power connectors attached to the Power Supply.
Retail Packaging - Top View
Pulling the plain black box out of the sleeve, and popping it open reveals the Power supply itself, wrapped in a bubblewrap bag, with all of the cables neatly tied together to one side
Now a relatively simple cardboard box and a bubblewrap bag might not seem to be the heaviest of packaging - we've all seen manufacturers fill an oversized box with polystrene or plastic sponge padding, but it certainly did the job - even after literally thousands of miles of professional delicate *cough* care by the boys and girls in baggage handling for various airlines and airports, other than a couple of minor scuffs and marks in the outer sleeve, the PSU was still in pristine condition.
Specifications & Features
The Mushkin Joule 800W PSU is a normal size ATX power supply which, while not a modular unit, offers a wealth of connectors and options. Unlike some of the more powerful PSUs out there, you won't be likely to run into problems with size as this PSU is not one of those oversize beasts we occasionally run into.
As you can see below, there are no shortage of connectors on this unit. After about 10-15 minuits fighting with it, I gave up and accepted that the photo below was going to be about as tidy as I could arrange them all. Note that the PSU is a fully sleeved unit, but the sleeving is relatively open so the coloured cables can still be seen to a degree. In the photo below, it looks worse than it actually is, the flash from the camera really showed off those almost hidden colours.
Altogether, we have the following connectors:
- 1x 20+4 Pin ATX Power Connector
- 1x 4+4 Pin 12v Connector
- 4x 6+2 PCIe power connectors
- 8x SATA Power Connectors
- 4x Standard Molex Connector
- 1x Floppy Power Connector
Probably more than enough for even the most heavily connected user. One very good thing is the extensive use of customizable connectors - this PSU is therefore compatible with everything from the first ATX systems where all of the power went thru a single 20pin connector, through early P4 systems with the 4 pin 12v additional power, right up to modern boxes requiring a 24pin main connector and an 8pin 12v connector. Got PCIe video cards which need 6/8 pin connectors or a combination of both? Not a problem - the 4 PCIe connectors can all be used in 6 or 8 pin configuration. Utterly flexible no matter what the connector requirements of your own system.
As previously mentioned, the PSU case itself is pretty standard fare. You're unlikely to come across any of the fitting issues which occasionally plague oversized PSUs.
And the cooling, again, is pretty standard stuff. A single 120mm fan blowing air directly onto the PSU PCB.
The rated outputs can seem a little confusing at first as they easily add up to way more than the 800W (or 850 peak) the PSU claims - however, read the small print at the bottom and things become a little clearer. While individual rails may be capable of the outputs shown, when used in combination, the total is less than the sum of the parts - not really an issue as the PSU does have power to spare from my experience.
Installation & Testing
For the purposes of testing, this PSU was installed in the following Rig:
- Bitfenix Colossus Chassis with 4 fans and lots of lighting
- Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7
- AMD PhenomII X6 CPU
- 8GB OCZ Ram
- ATI 4870 Primary Graphics
- Nvidia GTS450 Secondard Graphics
- 2 HDD & 1 DVD Drive
- Internal USB Card Reader
Installation of a PSU is never complicated - simply a matter of inserting the four supplied screws into the mounting holes in the case, so there's little point in covering that in any detail.
As for testing, OCCT's PSU Stress test was installed and Everest was called in to provide the voltages (for some reason the P45 doesn't report correctly to OCCTs own sensors showing 12v rails of between 1.5v and 6v which would, point blank, stop the PC from working at all)
There really is nothing to complain about here - there is a little ripple, and the voltages do vary by very small amounts, but remember, this test is designed to effectively kick your PSU all over the place and puts way more stress on the component than you're every likely to approach in everyday use.
Pro's & Con's
- Small size - will fit in almost any PC
- Stable power output even under extreme stress
- 6+2 style PCIe power connectors provide VGA flexibility without needing adapters
- Simple, all-black, understated paintjob
- Fan becomes audible (and noticable) under stress.
I have almost nothing but positive things to say about this PSU. It does exactly what it says on the tin (or in this case, the cardboard box) and does so stably and quietly. Only pushing the PSU to it's limits starts to make it a little on the noisy side. This is one of those cases when I'm really happy we have just moved over to a 10 point rating system because I'd have hated to give this PSU an 80% rating but it doesn't quite hit the 100% mark - that would be reserved for those PSUs we review which manage to keep the noise down and output stable while really being worked hard. The Joule manages one of these two lofty requirements, but just falls short on the audio level side of things, so earns itself a very solid 9/10 score from TBCS.
This product was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.